I do not envy the role of a West Indies cricket selector at present. I have closely examined the squad selected to tour Zimbabwe and South Africa in February and March 2023 and while it remains open to criticism, upon closer observation there are too many cricketers unavailable to play for the WI. Thus, it is a formidable task to choose a resilient squad.
I ask CWI, why the continued dependence on the current group of trainers responsible for keeping the players fit enough to play cricket at the top of their game? Those cricketers have a task to perform at their highest level of skill.
WI players, especially the faster bowlers, create crises to the adjustment of the team’s resources by their constant fallibility, thereby weakening the fabric of the side’s strength.
The anticlimax of these breakdowns occurred on the recent tour of Australia. The WI visited Down Under to oppose the Aussies in a two-Test series and reached the stage of sending for a replacement fast bowler. Marquino Mindley was sent flying through five time zones only to be thrown straight into a Test match, and in no time at all was off the field with an injury.
Firstly, who was looking after his fitness in Jamaica for him to be "on call" at a moment’s notice if the team needed him, and secondly, what type of test did he undergo after he arrived in Australia?
If breakdowns are continually happening to cricketers then some explanation is owed to CWI by the trainers. WI are already weak, judging from their non-performances in all formats of the game, therefore, the powers that be ought to have a look at placing the best and fittest players on the field.
Check into the fitness experts please.
I must comment on the captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, making a big fuss over Tagenarine Chanderpaul. While I agree with all that he says, it worries me that he made his expectations public. Tagenarine has done well in his first appearance in a Test series, thus, without going overboard, the captain’s kudos should reflect the temperament of the player and how happy he is to see the left-handed opening batsman grasp his opportunity with both hands.
The team’s batting is so woefully weak that that bold, exciting debut of Chanderpaul so pleased the skipper, that he couldn’t control his praise for the 23 year old, but it’s wrong. He ought to have been treated with quiet appreciation through complimentary remarks as if it were expected of him. Leave all the words of worship to cricket commentators – that’s their job. The captain is there to inspire and give credit in a sedate manner.
In the modern-day cricket environment where the poorer cricket nations are struggling to survive and are deserted by their better players for greater financial reward, team selections are derived from those available, or, to read another way, not chosen for franchise cricket.
Although a poor cousin of the art and classical strokeplay required in Test cricket, or the fitness needed to bowl 20 or 30 overs in a day, plus the level of cricket intelligence essential for two-inning cricket, the financial gain, as far as the players are concerned, is sufficient reason to migrate to these franchises and enjoy a better standard of living.
Hence, WI, South Africa, New Zealand etc are losing some of their best cricketers to these leagues. Only India, Australia and England can afford to resist the clout of the now established franchise competitions. Of course, they do it by being able to pay their players to stay away if their own home programmes would be affected.
The International Cricket Council is dominated by the three cricket super-powers which apply rules to suit themselves to the detriment of the less affluent countries.
The cricketers, on the other hand, are not held to the same level of skill and accomplishment in glorified club cricket as they would be in a contest between two nations opposing each other for country and honour. Furthermore, they should not be judged by their choice, for a man can use whatever ability he has, to develop a standard of living for himself and family to enjoy.
In the meantime, WI will continue to spend money to produce flamboyant players with the intention that they will represent the region, however, the best ones will disappear as the wealthy franchises will lure them away.